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Success and Failure

Published June 3, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Summer Break Edition

(Originally Posted Feb 2013)

success or failure

Success and Failure

There are many factors involved to discern the causes of success and failure in social movements and the efforts required for it to become a widely appealing endeavor that wields significant impact on social change.  Traditionally, movements, particularly the progressive type, have sought to redress social problems such as barriers to status, race and gender equality, as well as democratic practices, economic advancement and social justice.  According to research by Davis and McAdam (2005), theorists generally agree that social movements, if they are meant to have substantial effect and enjoy longevity, require (a) organization, (b) effective leadership, (c) administrative structure, (d) incentives for recruitment, and (e) a means to secure support and access to resources (Davis & McAdam, 2005).

The gathering of young academics in the mid-1960s began to produce more involved organizational and political debates to explain social unrest, transmuting earlier focus on collective behavior to that of collective action.  From this mindset, forward momentum and energy began to take shape in the form of social movements and social movement organizations, like that of Planned Parenthood and The Environment Protection Agency. Other movements, like the Disability Rights Movement, created organizations that have become stable enterprises that secure equal rights and opportunities for persons with disabilities that have minimum impact on social change.

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Another social movement in Europe began to organize in 1997, that called to support worker rights as the European Commission moved toward cuts in social spending. European activists continued their efforts and moved it to the realms of a continental scale. The formation of Jubilee 2000, a global network centered in Europe, campaigned for the eradication of Third World debt.  According to organizers, after only four years of campaigning, they produced successful campaigns of various influence, in 68 countries. The campaigns were autonomous, but shared common goals, information and symbols which gave them an abundant sense of solidarity.  Their ability to communicate, co-ordinate, and cooperate was achieved with the aid of the internet (Tilly, 2004).

Most experts agree that commonalities of social movements that succeed share some of the following group traits from participants:

  1. Worthiness – This also includes the demeanor and mindset of the group participants.
  2. Unity – The organizations ability to unify marketing strategies and materials such as badges, logos, banners, chants, and mission statement.
  3. Numbers – The headcounts, signatures of petitions, communication from constituents and incumbents, their ability to fill streets and large event gatherings.
  4. Commitment – Individuals that brave the bad times, visible participation, absence of social loafing among group members, a wide range of participants that includes elders and physically challenged individuals, subscriptions, varying degrees of sacrifice and last but not least, resistance to repression.

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The media also plays a magnanimous role in the success or failure of social movements. Media coverage of an event can shape public opinion in presidential campaigns, military actions and outbursts of mass protest, to name a few examples. Edward Morgan (2010) postulates that media-saturated bombardment for anniversaries of iconic events, such as presidential inaugurations (and assassinations), to riots at Kent State, offer little more than an endless stream of distracting imagery that has more to do with today’s politics and economics than the reality of yesterday’s social movements (Morgan, 2010). The media’s in-depth coverage provokes deep emotion and passions (both positive and negative) that continue to shape and effect consumer driven capitalism and neo-liberal politics, rather than the social movements themselves.

Morgan points to three fundamental issues with respect to media coverage influence on social movements that include (a) the distortion of historic events by the removal of significant evaluation in the conditions that generate democratic activism, which can reduce the potency of social movements that involve millions of individuals to a few iconic leaders or images; (b) media distortion that can undermine the abilities of a democratic system; and (c) the failure to address the elephant in the room – the systemic characteristics of the elite that contribute in a significant manner to the social ills in which the US and the rest of the globe struggle with (Morgan, 2010).

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Emblems and images for social movement organizations also play an important role in branding and establishing solidarity. This can be witnessed by the Disability Rights movement that initialized and established unified motifs to identify facilities that provide amenities like designated parking areas, wheel chair ramps and restrooms that accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities. Their symbols and emblems have become a modern staple in contemporary living that we have all come to accept and embrace. Another example of immediate recognition in their emblems and advertisements can be witnessed by the marketing and promotional material derived from organizations that stand up for animal rights like PETA.

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The examples sited here, merely offer a few explanations that can lead to the success or failure of social movement organizations and the strategies employed that continue to aid in their efforts to maintain a strong presence.  These components include the implementation of devices like logos and other symbols identified with their brand. In conclusion, the continued efforts and marketing campaigns organized in social movements serve as reminders of these institutions success, longevity, and the enormous efforts implemented that continue to bring awareness to their causes in an effort to effect positive social change.

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“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway from the human spirit.” – Helen Keller

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References:

Davis, G., & McAdam, D. (2005). Social Movements and Organization Theory. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Morgan, E. (2010). What really happened to the 1960s: How mass media culture failed American democracy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Tilly, C. (2004). Social Movements: 1768-2004. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, LLC.

Message Themes

Published October 30, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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A marketer’s goal is to get a powerful message out to their target audience.  Kennedy (2011) suggests the best ads are built with the most persuasive, compelling, intriguing, fascinating message possible. To construct a super powered marketing message advertisers must assess everything and everyone they are up against that are presenting similar messages because their intent is to deliver a message that trumps all others and puts them in a category of uniqueness (Kennedy, 2011).  The strategy that helps marketers achieve these outcomes is doing their homework to come up with a unique selling proposition (USP) justifying their message against the competition. Incorporating a USP into the message theme of an advertising campaign will help the brand stand out above the others and is more likely to remain a fixture in the memories of consumers.

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Before marketers can start to build a tactical business case for content marketing they have to begin with the concept of innovation.  Baack and Clow (2012) explain that message themes are developed into a campaign to transmit key ideas in marketing campaigns. The use of recurring themes helps make the brand stand out more and is more effective at remaining in consumer memories. The message can incorporate different kinds of strategies that target (a) cognitive, (b) affective, or (c) conative responses to make their ads more appealing (Baack & Clow, 2012). For example, back in the 1990s, the Taster’s Choice Coffee Company created a series of ads that became both popular and memorable (Commercial, 1991). The ad conveyed a simple recurring theme in their message that conveyed that life seemed much better sharing a cup of Taster’s Choice coffee with someone special. The recurring theme that communicated their message was constructed in the form of a series of short dramatic scenes like a mini soap opera. Each time the couple would appear in different circumstances while viewers watched their relationship develop. The action was centered around the theme of sharing a cup of coffee each time viewers tuned in to witness the unique circumstances brought them together in each new ad. This advertising strategy was innovative at the time making this ad campaign a phenomenon in the history of TV commercials. This strategy was met with great success because their target audience was focused on people who were hooked to popular soap opera type shows at the time like Dallas and All My Children. Consumers were eagerly waiting for the next commercial to witness the plot development between the couple that was featured in the ads. Not only did sales boom, the Taster’s Choice brand became a part of pop culture during that time as millions of viewers anticipated each new episode to be a witness to the couple’s blossoming relationship. It was considered one of the most effective marketing campaigns on television at that era because of the emotional chord it struck with viewers. The soap opera message theme that delivered their message in that campaign was the bait that kept luring viewers and put Taster’s Choice in consumer memories for a long time. It’s twenty plus years later and I still remember them!

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

1991 Taster’s Choice Coffee Commercial (1991). [Motion Picture]. USA.

Kennedy, D. (2011). The ultimate marketing plan: Target your audience (Fourth ed.). Avon, MA, USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Brand Marketing Promotion Campaigns

Published October 23, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Brand Marketing promotions are considered one of the most valid tools for a company in the modern world, especially during times of hardship. Diamond (2011) suggests that retailers in today’s society face challenges they never experienced before. The impact from ventures like catalog only merchants and internet commerce have had a significant impact on a retailer’s ability to maintain successful sales levels. Because of this component, merchants are doing everything in their power to manage these challenges. One way to manage them is to offer exceptional services and develop creative advertising and promotional events that will gain the attention of not only existing clientele, but attract new ones as well (Diamond, 2011). Brand marketing promotions are utilized as a strategic tool to encourage purchasing and help reinforce a company’s conviction in trade development. In economies that fluctuate due to oil prices, unstable manufacturer supplies, and currency fluctuations, trade promotion strategies have become challenging to design, implement and assess. For example, a company that sells auto tires will develop a promotion that offers a free tire with the purchase of three new ones as an incentive to help consumers save money on a significant purchase in tough economic times. This gives them a good guy image and sends a message that they care about struggling consumers. However, before marketers can consider designing trade brand promotion programs, they must first define the parameters to help them determine the most efficient delivery systems.

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The biggest advantage of brand promotions is that they increase customer attraction. Borgeon and Cellich (2012) explain that the strategic goals of trade promotions should: (a) build brand awareness, (b) focus on needs versus demand, (c) reach the target audience, and (d) include a competitiveness response. Today’s trade is characterized by the continual escalation of competition among producer and suppliers, rapid innovation in products, short design and product life cycles, aggressive pricing, and knowledge base competition (Borgeon & Cellich, 2012). As a result of these trends, new approaches are continually developed to serve consumer needs that incorporate a capacity for competitiveness as part of a company’s promotional strategy. For example, a company that wants to sell a new product based on a consumer’s need to include healthier food choices, may set up an in-store promotion that gives out free samples to entice consumers to try them.

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Companies develop many different kinds of trade promotions to entice consumers to try their products. Baack and Clow (2012) purport, companies that design their campaigns with promotional incentives will generate interest and excitement that will stimulate more traffic for their company. These tactics include the use of: (a) coupons, (b) refunds and rebates, (c) contests, (d) sweepstakes, and (e) premiums (Baack & Clow, 2012). The biggest mistakes marketers make is not conducting the research required to create an effective campaign. For example, if a marketer fails to identify their target audience, they stand to lose thousands of dollars in promotional material that was intended to attract a specific consumer because it never reached the intended audience. Advertisers that do not promote their events to the right audience could also face embarrassment and bad publicity from sponsoring contests that no one shows up to. Companies who make the effort to conduct extensive research and implement measurable data collection systems, have a better chance of seeing a return on their investment and are more likely to create memorable trade promotion events that can have a positive long lasting effect on consumers as well as bring success to companies, even during hard economic times.

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Borgeon, M., & Cellich, C. (2012). Trade promotion strategies best practices. New York, NY: Business Expert Press, LLC.

Diamond, J. (2011). Retail advertising and promotion. Ridge, NY: Fairchild Books.

Buyer Motivations

Published October 9, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Marketing experts know that the most effective ways to reach their audience is through a powerful message that evokes a feeling and motivates buyers to take action. Kennedy (2011) suggests that successful advertising campaigns implement strategies that focus on a unique selling proposition (USP). This transpires to explain the company’s position with respect to their competition (Kennedy, 2011). For example, Best Buy states it guarantees the lowest prices. They dare consumers to find a lower price and boldly state they will match it. This is one example of how a company telegraphs a message about their benefits through their promises. This tactic is used to effectively appeal to customers that are interested in saving money. Others, however, use tactics like fear to electrify consumers. For example, Allstate Insurance Company uses images of disastrous events like flooding, theft, and automobile fender benders to instill a message of fear. The message they want to communicate with this strategy is that their brand of insurance can bring them comfort during events of great suffering. Companies that express a USP that evoke strong emotions like fear can use it to their advantage to position their services and goods as the answer that addresses their needs. They focus on rousing consumer feelings from their own experiences of significant life changing events. This is one method corporations can use to build consumer trust.

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Marketing experts that use precision marketing methodologies can cut through the noise and focus on winning consumers as fully engaged advocates. Gallagher and Zoratti (2012) postulate that in today’s society, consumers have made it clear they are in control of the communication they tune into. They are voting with their money and their attention by fast forwarding through commercials, opting out of mailing lists, and blocking their phones to avoid solicitors. Consumers, instead, are spreading the information through social networks by voicing their opinions online, with friends, family, colleagues, and the global internet community. Because of this trend corporations are watching their advertising investments deteriorate. Market research reveals that consumer interests and attention are directly related to the salience of the message they transmit (Gallagher & Zoratti, 2012). In other words, in order to engage consumers that are ignoring them, they are finding new methods to penetrate their barriers by gathering extensive research to find out what is relevant to them and what appeals to them emotionally.

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There are many components that advertising firms use to transmit their messages that target relevant consumers. Baack and Clow (2012) contend there are seven major areas of appeal that help form these messages: (a) fear, (b) humor, (c) sex, (d) music, (e) rationality, (f) emotions, or (g) scarcity. Fear is the top emotion that advertisers implement to get their message out while humor is the second. Even though these emotions are not similar, they can, however, be linked together to convey a powerful message (Baack & Clow, 2012). For instance, a company that wants to send a message to men about a new cologne product, may link many of these characteristics to allure an audience. Old Spice, for example, created a very effective commercial about their cologne combining the components of fear, humor, and sex appeal to get the message out about one of their products. The commercial opens with a beautiful muscular man standing in front of a running shower, clothed in nothing but a towel. Using sex appeal in a humorous situation, the man appeals directly to his audience, looking straight into the camera asking the viewer to compare their mate to him while the images fast forward through a variety of heroic scenes ending with the man mounted on a horse reminiscent of a knight in shining armor. This message uses humor, rationality, fear, and sex appeal to communicate to the audience. The ad clearly conveys that the cologne can make their partner more heroic like the man in the commercial if they use Old Spice. The commercial banks on the man’s sex appeal to attract attention, while the concept of fear is implied to those who do not use the product. This advertising strategy communicates to both women and men. The man’s humor and sex appeal allures those who fantasize about a heroic partner, and the emotion of fear speaks to those who are afraid they are not heroic or attractive enough in the eyes of their partners unless they take some kind of action. Advertising teams that engage in precision marketing methods and focus on their target audience, are in a better position to influence buyer motivations and tend to yield the highest results.

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Gallagher, L., & Zoratti, S. (2012). Precision marketing: Maximizing revenue through relevance. London, UK: Kogan Page Ltd.

Kennedy, D. (2011). The ultimate marketing plan: Target your audience (Fourth ed.). Avon, MA, USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Attitudes and Values

Published October 2, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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To market a product or a company effectively, management teams must have a concept of how to promote and position themselves to stand apart from the competition. Morgan (2012) postulates that the number one asset any organization or individual has is their unique personality and their attitude. This is what makes them stand apart from the others. A successful image of a company, therefore, can increase the value of that business dramatically. When it comes to creating a corporate image or creating an organizational attitude, perception is one of the most significant components to consider. For instance, one way a company can create an attitude is by conveying that their brand is not merely a campaign that makes promises, but that their actions and behavior convey a commitment to keep those promises (Morgan, 2012). Business leaders that comprehend this concept are ahead of the game when it comes to creating value. In short, their attitude can also bring them added value.

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Leaders that distinguish the difference between attitude and values are more likely to develop a brand that will experience long lasting success as well as build solid relationships and a loyal customer following. Baack and Clow (2012) explain that attitudes also reflect individual values and that these perceived values and attitudes are key roles that influence consumer decisions. For example, typically, educated consumers incorporate two strategies in the decision making process that can influence their feeling or attitude: (a) the gathering of information and (b) the evaluation of alternate choices. Motivation also plays a role in swaying their attitude in the decision making process. This element determines the amount of enthusiasm they engage to support their needs and wants. Additionally, lower costs and higher benefits are factors that can influence consumer emotions and attitudes. These are a few components that help shape consumer feelings toward making decisions and remaining loyal (Baack & Clow, 2012). This means it is in the company’s best interest to develop strategies that provide consumers with substantial information about their products and services as well as a reason why they offer the best choices over any alternatives. These are factors that can help communicate a positive company image to consumers. This in turn affects their attitude and ultimately makes the company more valuable to them.

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There are many ways a company can create an image or present a company attitude that brings value to consumers. Vincent (2012) suggests that to achieve the most effective results to help shape a positive attitude, marketing strategists should address the following questions:

  • How indispensable is the brand to customers?
  • What is the rate of employee turnover?
  • What does the brand do that is better than any competitor and why is it significant?
  • How easy is it for competitors to replicate the brand experience?
  • How easy is it for customers to do business with the brand?
  • If the brand disappeared tomorrow would anyone care?

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By addressing these topics leaders can help create an experience that will shape a positive feeling or attitude in their consumers which in turn builds trust and confidence (Vincent, 2012). The Starbucks Corporation provides a good example of how a company’s attitude can influence their value. Prior to Starbucks’ genesis, people were used to paying under a dollar for coffee and expected free refills. Starbucks marketing strategists created an atmosphere that made people excited about paying more for coffee because of the feeling or experience the brand created. In other words, they built the success of their company on an attitude that communicated it was cool and hip to pay extra money for coffee to have a social front porch experience in an environment that allows internet access. This brilliant strategic move was the key that turned the Starbucks company into a mega empire. In conclusion, marketing teams that understand the distinction between attitude and value are more likely to experience long lasting success.

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Morgan, J. (2012). Brand against the machine: How to build your brand, cut through the marketing noise, and stand out from the competition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Vincent, L. (2012). Brand real: How smart companies live their brand promise and inspire fierce customer loyalty. New York, NY: AMACOM.

Environmental Statutes

Published September 20, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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US legal systems are designed to protect citizens in an organized society with respect to a wide number of issues including criminal behavior, domestic and professional relationships, regulations of industry and business, as well as a multitude of other significant issues. One of the most difficult areas to manage and regulate is environmental law. Schroeder (2008) contends environmental laws are difficult to comprehend because of the complexities involved. Environmental laws are meant to constitute the regulations and actions that threaten or physically harm the natural world including the inhabitants of the environment (people, animals, plants, air, water, and so on). Environmental law is considered one of the most complex areas in the legal field because the laws that regulate the environment are derived from a variety of sources, including: (a) federal courts, (b) Congress, (c) various federal administrative agencies, and (d) international treaties. In addition, state legislatures, courts and administrative agencies, local government (cities, towns, and counties) influence these regulations. Because environmental law is a relatively new field, the involvement of these many entities, makes it difficult to analyze the various statutes and regulations that govern them (Schroeder, 2008). Furthermore, different areas of the law require different knowledge like administrative, criminal, and tort laws, as well as understanding the court system, the civil and criminal procedures, and constitutional laws. Plus, the relationships between these areas are not always easy to comprehend or observe. Finally, science also acts as a major contributor to the plethora of environmental issues. For example, an examination of the maximum contaminant levels for drinking water is one factor that can significantly determine the development and enforcement of environmental statutes and regulations.

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One environmental law that is relevant to me as a mother and a children’s learning coach, is Executive Order 13045 – The Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks 62 FR 19883; April 23, 1997. This environmental law is designed to protect children from the health and safety risks of products or substances that a child is likely to come in contact with or ingest (such as the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink or use, the soil that surrounds us, and the products we use or are exposed to). The EPA’s responsibility is to evaluate the effects of these issues and introduce regulations that provide an explanation as to why the statutes are implemented as well as include information on potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives (Summary of executive order 13045 – protection of children from environmental health risks and safety risks, 1997). For example, children in a learning environment typically use and put crayons in their mouths, and some  will even bite into them as an experiment to appease their curiosity about the world that surrounds  them by enlisting the use of their taste pallets. If the crayon is produced from chemicals that are toxic, however, this can present a harmful situation to the children that play with them. This law forces manufacturers to incorporate safer methods, label products with warnings about toxic products, identify those that are non toxic, and punish manufacturers that do not comply. Without these regulations to protect children from harm, parents and teachers cannot feel confident or at ease with the products their children are using if they are not deemed safe indicated by a government agency seal of approval.

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Business leaders for the most part, find dealing with environmental laws taxing. This is due to the complexities that these mandates have evolved into which includes of a system of statutes, regulations, guidelines, requirements, policies, and case-specific judicial and administrative interpretations that address a wide-ranging set of environmental issues and concerns which are created to deal with how humans interact with the environment and ecological systems. However, most business leaders just want to run their business and not have to worry or think about the many regulations they are required to comply with. Ewing and Steinway (2011) postulate that the key issue for business leaders to identify is what role the federal and state government plays in operating their business. For example, the traditional command and control system involves the establishment of environmental standards and permit enforcement procedures, liability assignment, and penalties (criminal and/or noncriminal) for noncompliance. These regulating authorities are granted the power to issue permits or licenses that authorize or prohibit activities that contaminate, harm, or cause pollution. Business leaders must comply with these mandates to operate their business to avoid penalties and fines (Ewing & Steinway, 2011). State groundwater protection laws, for example, provide detailed information that help business leaders better understand the permit programs they may require for their industry. For the most part, environmental laws serve to protect the environment as well as keep us safe from the products we use, protect the air we breathe and make sure the foods we eat are not contaminated. In conclusion, environmental regulations are meant to prevent industries from poisoning and contaminating the environmental and ecological fabric that we all rely on for our existence.

Next week concludes my research on business law with a three part blog that covers sexual harassment and discrimination laws. Until then have a great weekend everyone!

References:

(1997). Summary of executive order 13045 – protection of children from environmental health risks and safety risks. Washington: EPA. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-executive-order-13045-protection-children-environmental-health-risks-and

Ewing, K., & Steinway, D. (2011). Environmental law. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Schroeder, K. (2008). Environmental law. New York, NY: Delmar Learning.

Constitutional and Legal Underpinnings of Business Law

Published August 12, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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It is important for business leaders to comprehend the legal parameters in which to operate a business effectively. In other words, business leaders that have a grasp on the law will benefit from that knowledge. The role of the US Constitution, for example, plays as significant part in comprehending the law and protecting citizen rights. Business leaders that learn to interpret and comprehend the provisions it consists of will be ahead of the game in operating a successful organization. The Fourth Amendment is the focus of this post because it is a noteworthy component in the section of the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment was created to protect US citizens and their possessions. Schulhofer (2012) contends that prior to the establishment of the Fourth Amendment American Colonists were subjected to abusive searches that consisted of authorities plundering their businesses and rummaging through their documents and possessions (Schulhofer, 2012). Other infractions of the Fourth Amendment involve violation of rights by the abusive power of authorities who take advantage of people that are uneducated for instance, or may not be aware of their rights as a citizen. Individuals that have immigrated from foreign countries, for example, and are unable to communicate effectively, in many cases are taken advantage of and discriminated against. The Fourth Amendment is designed to protect US citizens from having their property searched or seized without the authorities having reason and/or obtaining a legitimate warrant to do so.

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The Fourth Amendment benefits citizens and their businesses because it protects them from unwarranted searches and having their possessions confiscated. On the other hand, the Fourth Amendment also benefits authorities because it gives them the right to search and seize evidence from individuals or businesses suspected of illegal conduct that may bring harm to the public at large. Clancy (2008) purported that with respect to any case that involves Fourth Amendment issues the following question must be addressed: does the government activity (whether search or seizure) invade the individual or their business interests that are protected by the amendment (Clancy, 2008). In other words is the activity warranted or not? For example, in today’s world, technological innovations in communication and the internet are creating cause for alarm with respect to the rights of citizens under the Fourth Amendment because of the astounding surveillance capabilities of the government to collect private information and data in the name of national security post the 911 terrorist attack. The questions modern citizens face today is whether this invasion of privacy is an infringement on their Fourth Amendment constitutional rights.

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Furthermore, the act of a search or seizure is very degrading for an individual to experience. In fact, Taslitz (2006) disclosed that the original Fourth Amendment of 1791 was constructed to tame political violence. The truth is, that the early colonists not only complained about taxation without representation, they were outraged that the enforcement of these tax laws were conducted by searches from authorities without evidence of any wrongdoing (Taslitz, 2006). In short, search and seizure were the core issues that motivated the revolutionary war! Authorities that conduct seizures and raids have consciously engaged in an act that strips individuals of their rights and privacy. It is imperative that any authoritative figure who engage in such activity do so legally to prevent the violation of an individual’s US Constitutional rights or robbing any person of their dignity in doing so.

The Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

References:

Clancy, T. (2008). The fourth amanedment: Its history and interpretation. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Schulhofer, S. (2012). More essential than ever: The fourth amendment in the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Taslitz, A. (2006). Reconstructing the fourth amendment: A history of search and seizure. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Collaborative Learning in Organizations

Published May 10, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Collaboration and collaborative learning are processes that integrate people, systems, and technology.  They exist in organizations where there is trust, decentralization in the decision making process, and that practice openness and fairness in their communication systems.  This configuration is designed to satisfy the needs of the whole rather than a need for one individual’s participation to spearhead the decision making process in an effort to protect their own interests.  Collaboration offers a way for organizations and communities, for example, to address pressing issues like housing, crime, poverty, employment, and education.  Collaboration can be as simple as a conversation among associates, a motivational presentation to the public, or as complex as a structured project where participants are required to update information in real time (Blevins, 2001).  This research takes a look at the collaborative learning process and organizations that work together to obtain greater resources, help improve ineffective conditions and systems, and to achieve higher levels of recognition and rewards in a highly competitive marketplace.

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A Closer Look

More organizations are joining people together in creative ways to help tackle issues that lie beyond the parameters of any one individual.  Peterson’s (2001) research reveals that in today’s global arena, employees that work together in collaboration can make the difference between a company’s failure and success.  To achieve a level of success, collaborative efforts must consist of the following components: (a) a shared vision, (b) clear and open communication, and (c) the establishment of genuine trust among the collaborators.  Working together cohesively builds stronger relationships that provide a foundation for further collaborative efforts because they are now more adept in finding solutions.  His study concludes that effective business collaboration can bring people together to increase performance and productivity for a competitive advantage (Peterson, 2001).

The ability of collaborative groups to persevere in doing constructive work also depends upon their success in resolving issues.  The key roles in collaborative efforts are trust and good communication during each phase of the process, especially when issues like mutual respect, attributions, political processes, expectations, and consensus are addressed.  In addition, organizations learn to work in a collaborative effort despite of such barriers like gender, race, and age.  In other words, complicated stereotypical effects that favor one demographic category over another have less determinate influences on the various gatekeepers who can obstruct the collaboration process (Peterson, 2001).

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Organizations Demonstrating Collaborative Cultures

The American Cancer Society is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the US.  Despite their size, the quality of their work, and maintaining a stellar reputation, they are an organization that believes they can only carry out their mission effectively by developing collaborative partnerships with other organizations.  For example, their teaming with Yellow Cab and United Checkers Cab, as well as other programs like Look Good Feel Better, helps bring awareness to raise funds for breast cancer research and other related patient programs.  As a result, they have pioneered a variety of approaches to promote collaboration with local, grassroots organizations to reach their public health goals (Mattessich & Murray-Close, 2001).

Scholastic institutions that address education and youth development within poverty-stricken regions are another example of collaborative learning at an organizational level.  These firms learned to collaborate with national nonprofit organizations to comprehend local needs and helped establish a reputation among the local populace to achieve their goals.

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Fink’s (2007) research is focused on another driving trend that motivates firms to implement tools of collaboration.  These firms have adopted electronic communication tools as a means to facilitate collaboration.  These include the implementation of systems like discussion boards, instant messaging, and groupware.  These tools are used to facilitate communication and coordination without time and space limitations.  His studies focus on the organizational view of the impact and role of e-collaboration.  In this case, e-collaboration is conceptualized as a change-oriented capability that enables a firm to identify, integrate, and apply its knowledge assets to meet competitive demands.  In this context, e-collaboration potentially has three organizational roles: (a) coordination, (b) learning, and (c) innovation associated with efficiency or competitive impacts.  His study concludes that organizations in less dynamic business environments need e-collaboration for operational purposes, emphasizing coordination components, whereas companies in high-velocity business environments utilize e-collaboration for strategic purposes, emphasizing the learning and innovation roles (Fink, 2007).

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Conclusion

Shankman (2013) describes successful organizations as institutions that are comprised of people who work together in an atmosphere that is conducive to stability, good cheer, and led by leaders who are almost always the role models for the change they seek (Shankman, 2013).  Community leaders and inhabitants who engage in collaboration efforts to accomplish tasks can improve their civic conditions but also reinforce social fibers and increase the regions’ capacity to become more distinguished.  In conclusion, collaboration builds stronger relationships and can enhance social conditions in creative ways.  It offers communities a tool for improvement and introduces innovative opportunities to tackle issues.

References

Blevins, R. (2001, ). A study of association between organizational trust and decision-making, communications, and collaboration in comprehensive, regional institutions of higher education. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, MI, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April24 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304707494?accountid=32521

Fink, L. (2007, Jul-Sep). Coordination, learning, and innovation: The organizational roles of e-collaboration and their impacts. International Journal of E-Collaboration. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/222376102?accountid=32521

Mattessich, P., & Murray-Close, M. (2001). Collaboration: What makes it work. St. Paul, MN: Wilder Publishing.

Peterson, M. (2001, February). International collaboration in organizational behavior research. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Chichester, US: Wiley Periodicals Inc. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224884660?accountid=32521

Shankman, P. (2013). Nice companies finish first. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan Publishers.

 

Measuring The Learning Experience

Published May 1, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Spitzer (2007) contends that performance measurement focuses on the following three fundamental components: (a) perception, (b) understanding, and (c) insight. The ability to measure these elements can have an extremely transforming impact on organizations in positive ways. Spitzer suggests one reason performance measurement is not always able to effectively deliver positive outcomes, is because they are rarely socialized successfully. In other words, the outcome must have a positive effective that becomes a part of the social fabric of the organization. When assessment tactics are used for the purposes of improvement rather than to make judgments, the authentic power of performance measurement is unveiled. Organizational transformation measurements can lead to improvements in strategic execution, better investment decisions, increased value creation and value capture from diverse assets (tangible and intangible), improved relationships (customers, personnel, suppliers, partners, distributors, and others), increased synergy and synchronicity of resources, increased forecasting accuracy, staff that is motivated to operate at higher performance levels, greater organizational learning, and so much more (Spitzer, 2007).

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Education involves important questions about the structure and function of knowledge, the ethical imperatives of such knowledge, and the purposes to which learning must adhere to. It is a process of individualization and socialization. Learning programs and systems can be effective but are strongly influenced by the environment (Roberts, 2012). Learning about new software at a seminar for instance, is a very different experience than learning about it from reading the manual, sitting near a fireplace, sipping a warm cup of coffee. I conduct business in a virtual environment for example. My services as an independent contractor involve creating new systems for clients who are located in other geographic regions. As a sole proprietor, forms of measurement at this time do not include appraisal systems, financial reviews, knowledge testing, skill assessments or company surveys to ascertain performance and competency gaps. This presents however, many other learning opportunities for performance measurement as we examine our working relationship to determine what systems and strategies are effective and which ones are not as efficient. Initially, we implemented techniques from past experiences and methodologies that were effective, expanding on them to incorporate technological advances. The new methods also help monitor and act as performance measurement tools. For example, one learning measurement system we employ assesses client feedback and activity. Reports are created from spreadsheets that contain client information, identifies their industry classification (broker, loan officer, real estate agent, or private lender), dates with details of activity, the type of communication utilized (email, phone, text or snail mail), whether gifts were included as part of a reach out and connect campaign, and other relevant information. These systems provide clear records with detailed accounts of the individual that can help us identify competency gaps and other components that may reveal strengths and weaknesses.

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Spitzer believes measurement is a necessary condition for success and requires action. In other words, a high blood sugar reading is not useful if it is ignored. What makes measurement so significant is the capacity to instigate informed action that provides an opportunity for people to engage in more effective behavior (Spitzer, 2007). I recommend the implementation of systems that help organize information to keep track of client and personnel activity because in my experience, they can help monitor behavior and progress, efficiently and consistently. This strategy can provide data that will assist in creating a positive experience. In an intensely competitive marketplace, businesses today are required to operate outstandingly, effectively and reliably. Organizational leaders that comprehend this notion and use performance measurement to navigate strategically with systems and processes experience a tremendous competitive advantage and are likely to achieve high performance levels that are conducive to repeat business.

References:References:

Roberts, J. (2012). Beyond learning by doing: Theoretical currents in experiential education. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Spitzer, D. R. (2007). Transforming performance measurement: Rethinking the way we measure and drive organizational success. New York, NY: AMACOM Books.

The Management of Change

Published April 26, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Change is an accepted reality in the survival of organizations and plays a significant role in the longevity of a company. It requires organizations to incorporate new practices.  Simply put, change means doing things differently. Change management leaders are looking to achieve goals and objectives from the implementation of strategic planning.  In designing the change process, executives must connect their objectives with the experiences of the past that led to the necessity of change.  In addition, leaders must tune in and engage in active listening to personnel in order to reconstruct and comprehend from the input, the way they perform, and use their intellect to assist in the management of change. Employees in this instance become involved as peers and confidantes who can challenge, alter, or replace the assumptions and goals of upper management (Neilissen & Martine van Selm, 2008). In other words, staff members become co-producers in the communication process that leads to the designated change.  This research examines various elements that organizations procure in the planning and execution of change and the methods they implement to help them achieve their goals.

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Change Mechanisms

Yarberry (2007) suggests that at the core of change management, information and general control is required to support business functions. He postulates that while change control is conceptually simple, the mechanisms implemented and observed require attention to detail as well as support. His research concludes that change management cycles must address the following questions: What is the size and significance of the change? Who is requesting the change? Is the end goal possible to achieve? Is there urgency? What are the obstacles? How many people will be required to complete the project?  Full change management is a bureaucratic experience and a complicated process. If the tasks are coalesced and the participants meet regularly, it can be made to work efficiently. Creating templates, workflow plans, and good communication will help make the process more effective (Yarberry, 2007).

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Stanley’s (2007) research extrapolates that management development and organizational change are deeply connected. His studies suggest that management development is often focused on technical and professional skills rather than the more complicated contexts of change which include the structural, cultural, political, emotional, and psychological influences involved in change. The regularity and intensity of change that most organizations are subject to highlights the importance of effective management development. Some of the greatest challenges an enterprise faces are from ineffective leadership and a lack of effective organizational change. This includes the recruitment of individuals, retaining (and most important) the development of strong managers, and creating a successful management team (Stanley, 2007).

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Change Programs

Efficient programs of change must be highly effective at communication. Merrell’s (2012) research suggests that there are six components that influence the success of change. The ability to: (1) lead, (2) communicate, (3) learn (4) measure, (5) involve, and (6) sustain the organization during and after the process.  To elaborate on these components further, leaders must first, for example, present a clear vision with intents and purposes to inspire confidence in the workplace.  In addition, the best decisions occur when executives are better informed. This is achieved by involving the personnel who are affected by the change with their input and feedback.  Good communication fosters the learning process and helps to motivate employees. Next, staffers must engage in the learning process to acquire knowledge and the necessary skills needed to make adaptations.  In addition, establishing a system that incorporates the use of metrics can help define and support improvement with clear measurable goals.  Some of these goals include staying on target and within budget. Leaders can then analyze the process and progress of the change program. The finish line, however, does not occur upon completion of the change management project.  In fact, the change must endure.  This is accomplished by reviewing the entire system, processes, policies, technology, and structures necessary that support and sustain the organization in the post-change world (Merrell, 2012). Organizations that conceive and create an effective plan and execute change well are most likely the institutions that will outperform their peers.

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Conclusion

The role of change is the key to the survival of any organization. Research conducted by Hammoud (2008) purports that managers can achieve long-term business goals and objectives through carefully constructed strategies. Empirical evidence suggests that high failure rate is due to a leader’s inability to incorporate projects in alignment with established business strategies. Technology, focus on customer service, and a new global marketplace are some of the driving forces that lead organizations to embark on change. These significant elements affect the fluctuation of customer needs, buying patterns, markets, and channels (Hammoud, 2008). Organizations that develop an efficient action management plan and execute change successfully, by doing so on time and within budget, engaging in effective communication that fosters understanding, and achieving stated goals, will most certainly produce an environment that is conducive to maintaining success and longevity.

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References

Hammoud, M. S. (2008). Assessing project success: Comparing integrated change management and change management. Ann Arbor, MI, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304835611?accountid=32521

Merrell, P. (2012, Summer). Effective change management: The simple truth. Management Services. Enfield, UK: Institute of Management Services. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1027234230?accountid=32521

Neilissen, P., & Martine van Selm. (2008). Surviving organizational chage; how management communication helps balance mixed feelings. Bradford, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd. Retrieved April 10, 2013

Stanley, C. (2007). Managing change through management development: An industry case study. The journal of management development. Bradford, UK. Retrieved April 10, 2013

Yarberry, W. (2007, Mar/April). Effective change management: Ensuring alighment of IT and business functions. New York , UK: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/229584201?accountid=32521